Anyone wanna see and/or critique my art?

I’ve been painting for about 4 years now as a hobby. I’ve gotten better over that time, though I’m definitely still an amateur. I did a thread here a while ago asking for critiques, and I think it helped me- especially the advice to practice drawing more, which I have done a lot of now.

So hereis a link to my paintings. All of them are acrylic on canvas. Here’s a recent one that I’m proud of, and this one and this one are ones that a lot of my friends liked.

If anyone has any critiques, whether good or bad, I’d appreciate it. When any of my friends or family see my work, they only say how much they like it. And while I’m sure that some of that praise is genuine, I know that some of it is just because they are friends or family and don’t want to be negative. So if anyone has some critiques, whether positive or negative, that’d be awesome. I know there are plenty of artists here, but feel free to chime in even if you aren’t one. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings, since I could learn from any criticisms.

I’m sure other artists have the same problems I do with getting honest criticism, so if any other artists of any kind are looking for critiques feel free to link to your work too.

Highway & Traffic Light. I like these.

Mushroom. Not that good. The stem should go up inside the cap. It feels flat.

In general your ideas aren’t bad.

Shark. Perhaps some shadowing or blending would make me feel it was a shark in water, rather than a paper shark glued onto a red background. While that style works for Portrait in a nice way, with Shark or Flying Bird it feels forced. For some reason I like Terrier better. I think it is because the outlining stands out less on Terrier due to the colors. Maybe it’s the outlining I don’t always like. In general it is an interesting style, but you might try some variations sometimes,

I am an imbecile. I offer a 3 minute review and it means nothing, only a gut reaction. Your work is not great, but you have some potential. If you enjoy what you are doing it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks anyway.

Keep on Truckin’!

I like your paintings. With the right samples you could do New Yorker covers.

The first page has the best items, most of the pieces there have a nice smart twist to them.

Some of my favorites: Tree at Night, Portrait, Street Corner. Maybe Untitled 2.

Other interesting pieces: Shark, Flying Bird and Points. Points maybe needs a little more trickery… like having just one of the rows a lighter tone.

The cat in Night Sky seems a mite too pandering. Some sort of odd shadow on a wall might be better.

Former Art Major here, although not a painter.

Wow, some of your work is really beautiful, a few I would happily buy if I saw them in a gallery.

I’m not in love with the abstract stuff, but that’s just my personal taste talking.

Your landscapes (Downtown, Powerlines, The Distance, Roads 2, Wind, Windmill, Forest, Highway, Street Corner) show a very clear style and keep my interest over time even though the subject matter is very simple, that’s not easy to do. I really love these.

What’s less successful are the objects (Balloon Dog, Rocking Horse, Giraffe) because they float on the canvas and make me feel unbalanced and tense when I look at them. Unless that’s your intention, if the subject has feet you should shade the bottom and give them something to stand on. Brain is great though because it’s bigger on the canvas and tipped in a way that keeps it anchored. The string in Pinata has the same anchoring effect and works to reduce the tension of the viewer.

I also really love Points and Game, smart and funny at the same time.

The calm ones like City and the Untitled(s) are really so cool, but they are more interesting when you leave out the detail (like the bottle in Beach). Birdcage is more successful at telling a story with just the feathers. You have a voice and you use it very well, don’t feel like you have to dumb it down.

Street Corner, Downtown and especially Traffic Light would come home with me for sure if the prices were right. Do you have a price list and are you showing anywhere yet?

My taste and yours are very different, since I’m not very fond of your favorites.

I’m also not sure I like most of it as paintings on a wall, but I love a lot of it for desktop pictures.

My favorites are the drips and drippings, blue flowers, highways, treehouse and shaking.

I like the simplicity, I like the negative space, but I am not fond of the subjects and I’m not crazy about the style when it veers so close to the kind of thing that appeals to children.

Having said that, you have a thousand times more talent than I do in this area and it’s obvious you are enjoying yourself, so keep it up!

Last month I visited my local gallery to see Disorder Disorder - " a range of new and existing works from artists generally seen as ‘outsiders’, ‘independents’ or ‘dissidents’"

While some of it was terrific, there was plenty that could have been displaced by your works which are far more accessible. I like some of them quite a lot although I don’t think you need to stoop to the filth you portray in those Rorschach paintings.

Thanks y’all for your comments!

Gut reactions are welcome. Shadowing and blending makes sense. I might try to work on that while still keeping my naive art style. I will definitely keep on truckin. I do my work for myself, but it’s nice when other people like it.

Thanks! I also thought that Points was missing something- that’s a good idea to have a different color row in there.

I hadn’t necessarily meant for the view to feel unbalanced and tense with those works. It’s just sometimes I get in my mind I must paint a certain thing, and then it’s not always successful when I do. I’ll try working on my shading more.

I’m not clear what you are saying about the detail. Are you saying Beach would be better without the bottle?

I’m not selling anywhere yet. I thought about signing up to sell on Etsy, but it looks like there’s a lot more people selling than buying there.

Thanks for your comments, I definitely understand that people’s tastes are different and and never insulted when someone’s is different than mine. I am definitely enjoying myself.

I love City and Mice (and would really like to own Mice).

This could be resolved easily by making the bottom half of the painting darker than the top. You’re great with perspective, so figure out where the floor meets the wall behind the subject, and bring the darker color down from there. Umbrella works because the raindrops create a separate plane from the dark space under the umbrella, so it rests in an environment instead of just floating. A small adjustment like this could really improve those paintings and bring them more in line with your style.

Re: the beach bottle Yes, very much so. It’s a beautiful painting, but the bottle is too detailed to work with the wide flat planes of the rest of the painting.

I would suggest working towards a show rather than selling on the internet. Create an easy portfolio of your favorite pieces that you can leave at a local gallery showing work you like. Include a card or at least web address to view more of your work and contact info as well. You may or may not sell work at a gallery show, but it will pay off more in the long run in terms of moving you forward as an artist.

Also PM me if you do decide to sell the ones I mentioned. It would be a real treat to get to look at your work every day in my own home.

ETA-ACK-messed up the quotes, sorry.

I’m not an art critic or even knowledgeable on the subject but there are some of your pieces that I really really like. I also scanned through the earlier stuff and can see how you’ve matured as an artist.

Thanks for sharing and if you ever do decide to sell, be sure we know where you are. (Don’t we have a self-promotion forum now?)

I really like - Castle
Untitled 2
Tree at Night
Paper Bunnies
Roads 2

(Especially Monkeys - I can see that on a t-shirt. Seriously - can you make me up a t-shirt? :slight_smile: )

I like your style of art - “accessible” is a good word for it. It’s simple and pleasant and I enjoy looking at it. Plus, there aren’t people in most of your pictures - I hate art with people in it.

ETA: Forgot to say, one thing that strikes me with some of your pictures is that you are adhering too strictly to the 2/3rds rule.

Wow! I love your stuff! I think panda is my favorite.

Okay, that makes sense with the planes and details and stuff. I’ll try to keep those things in mind going forward.

It also makes sense to try working towards a show. There are tons of galleries in Houston. The problem is that also sounds somewhat terrifying. I get nervous meeting people in general, but meeting them and seeing if they would like to sell my art would be tough. But that is a good idea. I’ll try to see if there are Houston places that sell my style of work.

Thanks! Yeah I figure that if nothing else it’s obvious that I’m getting better. Practice at something almost every day for four and a half years and it’s bound to happen.

Thanks! That’s funny about the tshirt, one of my friends said he wanted Balloonon a shirt. Maybe I should look into the tshirt possibilities.

That’s also a good point about the 2/3rds rule. I don’t usually have that specifically in mind to strictly follow it, but I think I see what you mean.


Thanks! I do enjoy outsider art. The Disorder Disorder show looks interesting- your link didn’t work for me, but I found this link and it looks pretty cool. But it does definitely look a little more out there than my work.

I think you should - I think some of your paintings would be super fantastic as t-shirts. I mean that in a good way - I hope it isn’t insulting to say that someone’s paintings would look good as t-shirts. :slight_smile:

Well, yeah terrifying is a good way to put it, but your work is too good to self sell on the internet. I mean look, you’ve sold three paintings and have several t-shirt orders already just in a short SDMB thread. :slight_smile:

What could be helpful about working toward a show is that the gallery can help you figure out how to price the work, and also help you decide which paintings are really finished and work in a series and which didn’t quite work or belong in a different grouping, so there’s value in showing even if you don’t sell anything. You’ll want to go with someone you like and respect, so do your research and maybe think of it as an interview rather than a cold call.

You could walk into any gallery with a portfolio of this work, hand it to the snooty dude at the front desk, and ask him to have someone call if they’d like to discuss your work for a show. You don’t have to go through it with them right then to try to convince them, if they are interested they’ll give you a call.

Make sure it’s a portfolio that’s nice enough to show the work but inexpensive enough that you don’t necessarily need it back (color prints should do fine). Also just like a manuscript-one gallery at a time is good manners.

Good Luck!

I like Monkeys, Peppermints, and Beach. I think I’d like Beach even more if instead of a bottle it was something more beachier, like the end of a towel or something, but even with just the bottle it’s nice and stark. And Peppermints could do with some minor shading to give a sense of depth and what’s on top of what. I like the concept, though.

A friend of my Mother’s, who also was a teacher of mine at High School, does woodcuts. It’s interesting that you chose to paint what is essentially plain bold unshaded colours, which probably lends itself better to printing than painting. Maybe you should look into that as a possible widening of your media.

I remember your old thread. I definitely see improvement. I like a lot of your ideas. I do like the one which I suppose is a tree on fire but on first glance it makes me think of a tree growing through an anatomical heart. My only critique would be that while the paintings look fine in the gallery, individually at a larger side they look a little fuzzy. You might want to find a way to take clearer photos or perhaps scan and stitch them.

I’m no art critic, but I like your stuff. I went back a few pages, and it’s obvious that you have improved a lot over the past year. I like Untitleds 1 & 2, Points, and City the most, I think.

I agree with Cat Whisperer, I could definitely see your stuff on a t-shirt. Maybe you could try threadless?

I remember your old thread too and I definitely see improvement as well. As an artist who has been somewhat successful I offer the following:

If you are going to try to get into a gallery, your oeuvre needs to be much more cohesive. I know it can be boring but that’s what the art world expects. Your strongest pieces are the high concept pieces - Untitled 2, Mars, the drip paintings, Points, etc. If you show pieces like Warning, Boom or Mushroom (for example) with them you will appear unfocused. Pieces that are more visual puns than serious art (The Attack) will undermine your credibility. You don’t need to be clever with every painting.

And finally, I would stop with the Photoshop assisted paintings post haste. They are fun to do and impress friends and family but are easily spotted for what they are by anyone who knows anything about art.

I like your style a lot and you’ve done some very nice work. I’d like to see a little more cohesion and exploration of a couple of your themes.

Keep up the good work.

Yes, it’s called The Marketplace. If you do decide to try to sell some paintings, Sam Lowry, that could be a low risk way to try it.

Or, if you decide to get some T-shirts made (check out Cafe Press and Zazzle), you could offer them there as well – you could bump this thread to link to a Marketplace thread, if this thread is no longer active when you move ahead on it.

You might also want to think about getting prints made – even if I couldn’t afford a painting, I’d definitely think about buying a print, because I like your stuff a lot.

twickster, Cafe Society moderator and art critic :wink: